The AwesomeWeb Story – Investing, Business Partners & Making It Happen
Today I have a special announcement…
I want to introduce you to a project I have been working on for quite some time:
It’s called AwesomeWeb.
You go to AwesomeWeb to find the best designers and developers who could’ve started working on your project yesterday.
AwesomeWeb was created out of a need. I wanted to hire great designers and I wanted to connect my readers with great designers.
Since I started this project, I’ve built it from scratch twice, moved three times, and four years have flown by!
But it’s finally here.
I started working on the idea back in 2010. The first thing I had to do was come up with the domain. It’s far easier to create a successful business if you name it something cool.
I wanted a name that could be used for more than just the idea I had right now. I didn’t want to restrict myself in the future just because my domain was too specific.
I chose web for obvious reasons. I chose Awesome because the greatest designer I have ever used use to say awesome all the time.
The name describes the business.
I bought the domain for $2000 from BuyDomains.
I used a design agency regularly at the time and asked them for a quote. I paid in full upfront and said go build it.
I wasn’t in a rush at the time because I had other priorities, so I got a discounted price.
Around two years into the project, things weren’t getting done. I decided to bring in a partner to take over some of the responsibilities because I didn’t have time for it.
The first person I thought of was Nick Tart who was writing for IncomeDiary at the time. We had worked on a couple projects together and he was a past Underground Scholarship winner. I knew he was reliable, hard working and professional (something I lack haha).
I didn’t have to convince him. It was easier for him to say yes then it was for me to offer him the part. Having a partner now meant I had someone relying on me. Pressure?
The web agency underestimated how much work was involved. They ended up reneging on the deal and delivered a subpar website which I couldn’t launch.
I may of over negotiated, which set them up to fail.
Here’s what the site they built me looked like:
For the second time, the web designers and developers we hired let us down. (If only we had AwesomeWeb, a place where you could hire reliable designers and programmers).
We started looking for a third agency to help finish of the website.
I was 100% committed to the project. We had set backs but it wasn’t time to quit, especially with Nick invested. (Not cash, but time, which is arguably more valuable).
I started thinking about adding someone else to the team.
A friend reminded me about a conversation I had with Dainis Graveris two years prior.
He was an Underground Seminar scholarship winner too. We met at Heathrow airport waiting for our flights to Washington DC to go to the event.
Dainis’s web design blog has had over 65 million readers!
We both spoke about how we wanted to connect designers with business owners, both having different perspectives on the idea.
I emailed Dainis and asked to Skype.
It turned out that Dainis still wanted to build something.
We agreed to go into business together, along with Nick.
Nick had mentioned Ruby on Rails was Awesome. So I kept that in mind when looking for a new programmer to finish the project.
We had wasted a lot of time. We were right back where we started. Nothing accomplished, but lessons learned.
I was looking to hire a few programmers for different projects when I came across Stefanos.
Stefanos is an instantly likeable character. A team player, committed and reliable.
He had Ruby on Rails in his job headline and was experienced in most programming languages.
I asked him to be the programmer for PopUp Domination. (I was also hiring for that business at the time).
He said no.
I was surprised.
He said he only wanted to work on Ruby on Rails projects.
So I showed him AwesomeWeb and asked him if he could rebuild the site.
He said no again.
When I asked him why not, he said “Because I don’t want to work with PHP”.
I told him, I wanted him to start from scratch, but program it in Ruby on Rails.
Then he got excited.
It was Christmas Eve and I had to go to dinner, so I introduced him to Nick and asked him to carry on the conversation.
They spent another 5 hours talking until Nick had to go for Christmas dinner himself.
We didn’t speak to Stefanos for a whole week until New Years Eve when Nick let him know that he got the job.
Stefanos replied, “I’m already 20 hours in.”
The NEW FOREST…
In January 2014, we all met up in the New Forest National Park, England. Stefanos is a Cypriot, who was living in England at the time. Dainis flew in from Latvia, but lives in the Philippines, and Nick flew in from Denver, Colorado.
I went and picked up Stefanos from the train station in the New Forest.
All he had told me was he was wearing purple and that I should be able to spot him.
He was right, I was able to spot him in his full purple tracksuit.
On our drive to the house he told me that he thought it took a lot of guts to start from scratch, that not many people would of done that.
He assured me that it was the right thing to do.
We spent the week putting a plan in place.
Introducing Michael Burns…
One of the big problems with creating a website that you call awesome, is finding a designer who could do the name justice.
Fortunately for us, Dainis had been working with a talented designer for 3 years.
His name is Michael Burns, we call him Burns to avoid confusion.
We didn’t settle when it came to the design.
These are 12 of the 40+ iterations of our homepage design.
9 months after meeting up in the New Forest, we are ready to launch!
Why This Is Good For Internet Entrepreneurs and Business Owners
You don’t pay us to use the site.
Designers and developers pay just $17/month to host their portfolio and be listed in the search engine. A price so low … designers and developers won’t have to factor it in when they give you a quote.
Most of our competitors charge 10 times that, for a whole lot less. Then on top of that, some expect a percentage of the total.
I understand the business model. If you bring someone business, you deserve a cut. But that cost always gets put onto the client … us. You and I. People who use these services.
We also won’t hide our designers and developers. We won’t make it hard for you to find the right person for you. Nearly all of our competitors put up walls to prevent you from doing anything before you register.
With AwesomeWeb, you won’t even have to register to use the site!
We are committed to being the best because we sit on both sides of the table. We want the best for everybody!
I hope you enjoy what we are building!
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